Smith Ready To Lead Entering Senior Season
Experience On And Off The Field Shapes San Antonio (Warren) Standout
DENTON — Standing 6-foot-4, 242 pounds, senior tight end Marcus Smith has the look you want to see in a tight end. This past season, he showed a glimpse of the player and leader that he could be, hauling in 16 passes, including a team-leading six touchdowns, which also ranks second among returning tight ends and sixth among all returning receivers in Conference USA.
“Last year was good for him because the quarterbacks and Coach (Mike) Canales, as the coordinator, gained confidence in what he could do in the red zone,” tight ends coach Nick Quartaro said.
“He had six touchdowns and had the highest percentage of touchdowns to receptions on the team, and that was from a more traditional tight formation. Now, that we’re going to be tight, wide and in between, he will be all over the place, which I think will present trouble for defenses’ recognition and give him a chance to be isolated and make some plays.”
Now entering his fifth season in the program, the San Antonio (Warren) standout in the “old man” in the room, and with age, has come a lot of experience.
“One thing that my dad used to tell me was that he didn’t get those gray hairs for nothing,” Smith said. “I don’t have any gray hairs yet, but I do have some experience. I cherish the experience that I have gained from other guys. Being the old guy is not as bad as being the new guy.”
Smith has gained experience, not only on the field, but off the field as well. During the offseason before his sophomore season, he dealt with the loss of his father, Jerome, who died of a heart attack on Feb. 27, 2013.
“It helped me grow up and it still does,” Smith said. “It helped me become a better man. It helped me become who I needed to be. It helped out a lot and it continues to help me.”
“Now, he’s matured to the point, and he’s always been a very mature young man thanks to his dad and his mom, but now he senses that he’s older and he’s essentially on his own,” Quartaro said. “His mom, his stepdad and his family live in Virginia, so they’re a long way away. He’s really doing his thing, leading his own life and doing a job. You gain confidence just living your life and being successful each day as he does.”
That growth and maturation has taken hold in Smith, who was named a team captain for the 2015 season as selected by his teammates. Having experienced a 9-4 season in 2013, capped by a win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, followed by a 4-8 season this past season, it’s a responsibility that Smith takes to heart.
“We didn’t have as strong team leadership last year as we did the year before, and also, you got to have that confidence and that swagger that you bring to the field each and every week,” Smith said. “You have to go out on the field knowing that you already won the game before the game has even started. I want to bring that to this team. I want to have that confidence and that swagger that we can go out there and not have any doubts that we’re going to win the game.”
How do you recapture that confidence and swagger?
“It takes a lot of practice and preparation,” Smith said. “We have to go out on the field, and learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, and continue to keep getting in the film room and studying, so when you finally get that chance to get out on the field against SMU, you’re not going to have doubts in your mind what to do and all you have to do is to play.”